College Republicans ask SG to back concealed carry on campus
College Republicans are asking Student Government to endorse giving University of Toledo students and staff the right to carry a firearm on campus.
The resolution was scheduled to be debated at Tuesday’s senate meeting, but was not able to be discussed this week because the sponsor, Senator Kevin Samson, withdrew his support.
“The issue is about the inherent human right to self-defense and safety. That’s kind of the core of what this is about,” said Patrick Richardson, student head of the College Republicans and a supporter of the resolution.
Ohio is one of 21 states with a law banning concealed weapons on college campuses. Richardson said he knows the resolution is just a statement of opinion and will not actually change university policy, but he feels that that law needs to be changed.
“As it stands I have my concealed carry permit; I’m allowed to have my gun concealed while I’m walking down Bancroft Street, but the minute I step onto campus I’m not allowed to,” he said. “Why is there a discrepancy? Why is it different because I’m on university property?”
University of Toledo Police Chief Jeff Newton said he feels the campus should remain weapon-free.
“I would like to see no change,” Newton said. “I just think that the campus is safer with the gun restriction in place.”
Newton said he is concerned that if the law changed, gun theft would go up and weapons would fall into the wrong hands, particularly at high-traffic public places like the Student Recreation Center.
Richardson cited the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 to explain why he supports concealed-carry on college campuses.
“The best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, and that’s just the cold hard facts,” Richardson said. “Who knows what could have happened at Virginia Tech? If one student in that class had a concealed-carry and could have put that guy down, it could have saved countless lives.”
Newton said the stabbing incident at Horton International House over winter break, which left one student dead and another seriously injured “emphasizes the need of a weapons-free campus.”
While the legislation wasn’t taken up this week, Richardson said another senator is willing to back it. Richardson said he thinks it will go up for a vote next week.
“I’m confident that it will go our way and I think it is good that we’re having this discussion. I think it’s an important issue,” he said. “I think it’s important that we’re having that debate and starting to talk about it.”
Student Senate public relations chair Clayton Notestine, a sophomore political science major, said he doesn’t think the legislation will get past the steering committee, the group that decides what legislation SG debates.
Notestine said the “political implications” of the resolution will not allow SG to make a decision that accurately represents the entire student body.
“I’d much rather see legislation that will help UT students rather than something that focuses on a national issue,” he said.
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